From the looks of things taking place, it appears quite set that Umno-BN is never going to learn. The cornerstone to any regaining of lost ground - especially in the world of politics - is to take responsibility and account for the mistakes as a sign of atonement.
But that seems to not make sense for Umno-BN.
Till this date, even after GE13 delivered 53 percent of popular votes for a potentially alternative government-in-waiting - which could, as contested, even be a cool 60 percent - Umno-BN is still not able to confess that its reduced 47 percent of popular votes is a reflection of the people abandoning its fold.
Instead of taking a serious look at its political and politicking self, Umno-BN took it out on the Pakatan Rakyat coalition and its politicians.
The barring of PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar is a case in point. One day, she is told that she cannot enter a state in her own country, Sabah; and even before the citizens have caught up with their bated breath, the cops announced that she can now come in.
Umno-BN’s refusal to learn to re-examine itself with humility is clearly observed from the many haughty statements, reprimands, warnings and unthinking statements belted from their camp.
People who voted not for BN or Umno are told bluntly that they are pengkhianat (traitors). One minister even had the audacity to state that those who do not support the BN system can leave the country. Since when did he take on the rights of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong? Later on, another says that the opposition camp is out to create chaos. And so on, and so forth.
Of course, you cannot beat the prime minister, who takes the trophy for shouting on about a “Chinese tsunami” at the end of the polls.
The puzzle is, why is Umno-BN behaving like this? Are its leaders not able to see the critical need to re-examine, reflect and re-appraise a strategy which places them on a footing that would then enable the rakyat to forgive them for their sins against the nation-state, the Agong and the citizens?
Instead, they unleashed all kinds of hatched plans that get the police to swoop down on Pakatan leaders, hoping to instill fear in the hearts of citizens. Just imagine how many hours and resources would be wasted to get the police and the courts to see through all these sandiwara play-acts of supremacy.
Do they not understand that it is these acts against the leaders and MPs within the Pakatan fold that are further riling the rakyat the wrong way? Have they not come to their awakening that times have changed in the past 30 years?
Public protests reflect change
Let Umno-BN be told. What we witnessed in the many peaceful public protests - since the days of Bersih 1.0, 2.0, along with the numerous ‘Black 505' rallies - is a reflection of the gradual shift taking place in the hearts and minds of the rakyat over the years.
Blaming Pakatan for instigation, provocation and scheming is not going to help Umno-BN heal itself from the deep wounds inflicted upon it at GE13. In fact, the lacerations had already been inflicted ever since the past two general elections. But Umno-BN failed to learn from the signals sent out by the citizens. Instead, it chose to lump the blame on one man, PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim. How pathetical and foolish.
It went on the offensive. It chose to lambast the opponents. And what made it worse, was its own inability to read the signals and respond with affirmative award-winning actions.
Umno-BN took the well-travelled path of the Dr Mahathir Mohamad era by playing the race and religion cards. Even looking at the various cash-and-kind handouts and the ‘you help me, I help you’ mantras that drove Umno-BN’s GE13 war plan had already been openly criticised by the rakyat. However, Umno-BN refused to acknowledge the feedback.
“We know what is best for you” and “We know what we are doing because we have been in this business for over five decades” seemed to be their conviction - an operative from a high pedestal.
Such lack of remorse, lack of humility, vanity and misplaced pride - all these will slowly, but surely wreak havoc on Umno-BN eventually. And nobody should be blamed if Umno-BN cracks up beyond repair.
Its leaders must remember that Umno-BN needs its own remedy - i.e. the propagated ‘transformation’ - more than the rakyat do. If the party cannot remodel itself to become relevant to the consuming-voter, any amount of rebranding will not stand the test of time.
It must, with humility, recognise that if there are voters swinging to the opposition camp in increasing numbers after giving BN a whooping majority in the past decades, it means they have given up hope for the weathered and worn horse.
It is not about being ‘ungrateful’. It is about ‘disappointment’ in Umno-BN; it is about a sense of betrayal felt by the very people who kept giving the vote to Umno-BN every five years.
Learning, un-learning and re-learning - all of these are vital for politicians and their parties if they want to remain relevant in the fast changing times.
Blaming, threatening, punishing without justifications and pulling the carpet under the opponents’ feet - these are political currencies that have zero buying power in the new world order where democracy, civil liberties and free and fair elections are the yardsticks.
Good luck, Umno-BN. Do not say we never told you so. It is just that you were blinded by your own arrogance and wasteful ways. It is not about the rakyat being ungrateful or anti-national.
The rakyat's love and loyalty
In fact, it is because the rakyat truly love this nation so much and revere their Agong with love and loyalty, that they are willing to step forward in the broiling sun on the scorching tarmac and walk the distance in a peaceful manner to save the nation-state, the Agong and the citizens.
We are certain that if our Yang di-Pertuan Agong was in the midst of all our ‘Black 505' rallies for example, His Majesty, too, would be most impressed by the discipline, conduct and unity amongst the tens of thousands of his subjects.
Above all, His Majesty would embrace the passion and hope with which his subjects sang the national anthem and also recognise how full of muhibah (camaraderie) his subjects were as they helped each other to find their way out of the mammoth crowds. He would surely take notice of how his subjects also did not forget to clean up the padang (field) of all litter while chipping in a small contribution towards the cause.
This Umno-BN cannot see, unfortunately.